Email Question – How Many Dogs Can You Track with the Garmin Astro?

I recently spoke to a distributor with intent to purchase the Garmin Astroand he told me that my hunting party could only use (1) hand help gps unit to track up to 10 different dogs.  This concerns me.  I wanted the ability for all 4 of my hunting buddies to be able to track all of the dogs.  Was the distributor telling the truth????
 M. S.


Thanks for contacting Gun Dog Supply.  The Astro handheld can track up to 10 dogs.  If you and your guys are only running 10 dogs at one time, you can all track each others dogs.  You can use an unlimited number of Handheld Astro Receivers to track these dogs. 

The Astro DC 30 Collar is like a small radio station.  As long as you know the channel it is broadcasting on and you are in range, you can pick it up.

If you run more than 10 dogs you would not be able to track them all at one time from the same unit.

If you run less than 10 dogs, you can all track from your hand held and still have room to add more dogs at any time.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  We do appreciate your business.


Steve Snell
Gun Dog Supply –

The Whoa Post

The Whoa Post is by far my favorite part of the Ronnie Smith Seminar. It is an amazing way to teach a dog to whoa or sit.

I told several folks today about the first time I saw the whoa post in action in it’s current form. I grew up using the “Delmar Smith Method” for teaching whoa. It was similar but it used a leather pinch collar around the neck instead of a half hitch around the dogs flank.

The reason the Smith’s changed it over to the flank was because of improvements in Ecollar technology. When the stimulation levels got low and you could raise them as needed it changed the way you could use them. That allowed them to use the collar on the flank.

The idea behind the Whoa post is that you have a stationary object with a rope attached to it with a snap. You have your dog on a checkcord. You bring the dog to the rope and run it between the dogs back legs. You tie a half hitch around his waste and attach the snap to the D ring on the dogs collar.

This makes a Point of Contact at the dogs flank. When you pull tight on the lead checkcord the dog gets stimulation at the flank. He has no where to go. He is stuck between you and the stationary object. He can fight it all he wants, but as long as you hold on, your dog is going to stand still.

Most dogs fight it at first, but quickly learn that the fastest way out is to stop the second they feel stimulation at the flank.

Once you have repeated this drill 30 to 50 times depending on the dog, you can move on to the ecollar around the flank.

It allows you to stop a dog dead in his tracks at any distance. Once you have this down, you can take the chase from a dog and get him steady on his game. After that, you can get him steady to wing, shot and dead fall. These are major parts of developing a fully trained hunting dog.

The first time I saw this technique in action was at a Rick Smith Seminar that I attended in 2002 in Pleasanton, TX. It was my first seminar since I was 14.

Rick was getting ready to start the Whoa Post and needed a dog that did not know what whoa was and had never stopped for anything. I had the perfect dog for him.

Ruby was out of my Em dog and Shadow’s Mark. She had more go than she knew what to do with and I had done very little work with her at the time. She had no idea how to stop or any good reason why you would want to stop.

Rick put her on the post and worked her through the basics. He then moved her past that and had her understanding the “concept” and stopping as soon as she felt the smallest amount of pressure at her flank.

He then moved her to an ecollar around her waist. He worked her out to a check cord toward a bird in a remote release trap. Once she got the scent and went on point, he stimed her around her flank. She stopped and held point. He then flushed the bird and stimed her again. She stood steady to wing.

The next part really amazed me. He walked away and left her standing there. Rick came back over to where we were sitting and talked a bit more about what he had done and how to go about training your dog this way.

I really didn’t hear much of what he said because I was watching Ruby the whole time.

There she was standing still 75 yards away from anyone. She had never done this before and she had nothing holding her back. At any point she could break and run. She had no tracking collar on her and I would have no way to find her if she did break. My only hope was that Rick knew everyone in the county and somebody would find my dog.

To make matters worse, about a thousand black birds started flying over her. Wave after wave of birds started to blacken out the sky. She watched them all, standing completely still with all four feet planted firmly on the ground.

I know for a fact that most folks at the seminar thought she was a plant. A fully trained dog that was brought in to show folks how talented Rick was and how effective his training would be on their dogs.

I knew that this particular dog had no idea what she was doing. It was the Whoa Post – not the dog.

Rick finished up his talking and walked out to my pup. He grabbed her check cord and quartered her off like it a regular day and she had done it a thousand times.

Now we were not finished. I had to work her on the post and get her to fully understand the concepts and move her to the flank. It worked really fast.

I use this method on all my dogs now and it works like a charm.

Click here to read part one of Rick’s “Whoa Post Redux” and here for “Whoa Post Redux – Part 2”


Gun Dog Supply

How I Put Lewis Dog Boots on my Bird Dogs

Dog boots can be a really important piece of gear to carry with you in the field.  They are especially important if you travel to hunt.  I have seen places that you could hunt without boots one year and then turn around the next year and the exact same spot is so full of sand spurs that it shuts down even the toughest of bird dogs.  Many trips have been ruined because hunters didn’t carry the right gear to protect their dogs feet.

We have used the Lewis Vented Dog Boots for years in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and the Dakotas on our bird dogs.

They are perfect for protecting your dog’s feet from sand burrs, rocks, sand burn, and gravel.  They can also be used to protect and injured foot or sore pad.  I have been able to hunt with a dog that had torn pads before by putting their boots on.  It makes a big difference.

The Lewis boots are made of tire tread rubber with a tread on the sole for increased traction.

The Lewis boots  are one of my favorite choices of dogs boots because

they hold up really well especially in sandy conditions.

Make sure you measure correctly.  I would prefer the boots to be a little big than too small.

They aren’t easy to put on or take off.

First cut the back tab of the front boots so it sits below his carpal pad.  You do not need to cut the back boots.

We keep them on the feet with duct tape.  It is very important to  use high quality duct tape only.  This is not a product you want to go cheap on.

I use pieces that are around 6 or 7 inches long depending on the size of the dog.

We put a band of tape around the dogs ankle sticky side out.  This tape sticks to the inside of the boot.  Place it so 75% of the tape will be inside the boot and 25% will be above the boot.

Then put the boot on the dog.

Next  wrap one piece around the outside of the boot so that 75% is on the boot and 25% is above the boot stuck to the sticky side of the first piece of tape.

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dog boot8

dog bootstall1

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We haven’t found a dog boot yet that will turn prickly pear cactus needles. We have added several layers of duct tape around each nylon or

rubber dog boot while hunting in prickly pear country.  It’s amazing what cactus spines can go through.

These boots will stop all of the sand spurs.  Most dogs have to learn to avoid the cactus.

At the end of the day I carefully cut the tape at the side seam with a pair of scissors.  I cut both the inner piece of tape and the out piece of tape at the same time.  The  boot will easily pop right off the foot now.

Under no circumstances should you leave boots on your dog over night.  It’s very important t check your dogs feet for any rubbing from the boot or from any damage that the boot may have covered up in the field.  Cactus can go through the boot and break off where you can’t see it inside the boot.

Dogs “sweat”out of their feet and it’s important that they have plenty of air on their feet.

After you have checked the dog, remove all the tape from the boots.

The last thing to do is carefully check the inside of the boot for any hidden pieces of cactus.  Go real slow.  It hurts if you find one the hard way. – Steve

Quail House Plans Thwarted By Predator Possum…..Film at 11


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A few weeks back my oldest son, Sam, found me and said we had a problem in our Johnny House.  A Johnny House is where our pen raised quail live.

It’s designed so we can release a few and turn our young dogs out for some bird dog training.  After we are done the birds will “recall” back to the house to be with the rest of the covey.  The birds reenter the house through a quail funnel.

The problem with a normal quail funnel is that other critters can come in also.  To keep this from happening, you can have a unit that has a has a door or you can get the Predator Proof Funnel by Quail Restoration Technologies.

I use the Predator Proof Funnel.  It’s expensive, but it works really well.  The quail funnel is on springs.  The idea behind it is that if anything that weighs more than a quail tries to climb up in the funnel, the funnel lowers into a box and blocks the critter from entering your Quail house.

So….how did Mr. Possum get into my Johnny House?  Well, I screwed up.

I use sand in the bottom of my Johnny House.  It works really well for collecting the droppings and drying them out.  It make clean up pretty easy.  The issue is that I let a bunch of sand build up around the bottom of the funnel.  The sand blocked the funnels ability to lower when the possum climbed up.


The PPF also comes with a door that you can slide in place when you are not using your birds.  I neglected to put it in place.

It was midsummer and I had very few birds left in the house, but there was no reason for it to happen.  Keeping your gear clean and functioning is always the best way to go.  I won’t let it happen again.

Getting Mr. Possum out of my pen was a bit of an adventure also.  He really didn’t want to go, but we convinced him that it was the best thing for him to do.

– Steve